Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Agricultural Economics

Major Professor

Dave Brown

Committee Members

Charles Sappington, S. D. Mundy, Brady Deaton


This study of crop output potentials in Kwimba District, Tanzania, was designed to illustrate the use of linear programming techniques in the analysis of agricultural production problems in peasant economies. Linear programming methods were used to determine (i) an optimal production plan consistent with specified agricultural production constraints assumed to prevail under traditional farm conditions in the district, and (ii) an optimal production plan under "improved technology" constraints. Both optimal production plans were subjected to sensitivity analysis using range analysis and parametric programming. The data used in the study came from secondary sources and were accepted at their face value. On the basis of the data available, the results of the study showed that labor during certain peak production periods was the resource that constrained greater production for farmers operating under the traditional farming system in the district. Furthermore, family sub-sistence requirements constraints reduced the ability of these farmers to increase production for the market in response to better monetary returns for their produce. The general conclusion was that the solution to the problem of low income levels that faces peasant farmers in this district and elsewhere in Africa lies in widening the production bottlenecks caused by the shortage of labor during crucial production periods. Technological changes such as the use of oxen-drawn Implements, artificial fertilizers and insecticides should form an indispensable part of the strategy to raise agricultural productivity and incomes in countries like Tanzania.

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